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Samsara is the forthcoming production of Aakash Odedra Company opening in March 2020. A choreographic and performance collaboration between Aakash Odedra (UK/India) and Hu Shenyuan (China), the piece draws upon their personal spirituality and the vast histories, philosophies and cultures of the ancient neighbouring civilisations of China and India who are finding a new meaning in modern times.Sharing cultures and search for knowledge is an age-old idea and suggests the human need for interdependence for its own advancement.
They were inspired by the classic 16th century Chinese novel, the journey of a monk who travelled 18 years looking for original Buddhist scripture, and his truth, encountering numerous difficulties. Samsara traces the steps we take, both forward and backward, in search of our higher selves. The harsh landscape of the Himalayas, the physical landscape in which the novel is set, serves also as a metaphorical landscape for the quest that Aakash and Hu have found themselves on. The monk’s journey itself highlights the inter-dependency between civilisations for sharing knowledge and culture is millennia old.
Gautam Siddhartha, the founder of Buddhism is depicted as a dark-skinned round-eyed man in India, but in China he is lighter skinned and with more oval shaped eyes. The messenger changed their appearance for the message to be accepted in new lands.
Choreographers and Dance Artists
Aakash Odedra is a dancer, choreographer and teacher. Born in Birmingham, UK and trained in the classical Indian dance styles of Kathak (Nilima Devi, Leicester and Asha Joglekar, India) and Bharatanatyam (Chitraleka Bolar, Birmingham and Chhaya Kantaveh, India). Aakash formed Aakash Odedra Company in 2011 as a vehicle for commissioning solos and to develop his own choreographic work. His debut full length solo Rising featured new short works created for him by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Akram Khan and Russell Maliphant.
As choreographer he was commissioned to create a piece for James Brown: Get on the Good Foot (Apollo Theater, New York) and the Opera God’s Little Soldier (Theater Freiburg), The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the closing of the London Cultural Olympiad. Aakash has received numerous awards and bursaries, including a Dora performance award (Canada), Danza&Danza award (Italy), Audience Award Dance Week 2013 (Croatia), Infant Award 2014 (Serbia), Bessie Award (Best Male Performer, 2014) and a Sky Academy Arts Scholarship.
Hu Shenyuan is an independent dancer and choreographer. He graduated from the Dance Academy of Central MinZu University before working in Beijing for LDTX Dance Company from 2012 to 2014. As a dancer, he played Yu Ji in Yang Liping’s dance work Under Siege to great public acclaim. In 2017, Hu became the first young artist supported by Yang Liping Art Foundation, created his work Roving and established his studio Hu-Hu Dance. Hu’s choreographic works include Roving, The Moonlight Rainbow, So Close, With, ID, Ego, and Super-Ego and The Flower of Freedom.
Several of his creations have been selected for the exhibition unit of the China Youth Dance Talents Training Program. His many awards include Best Performance Award at the 4th Beijing International Ballet and Choreography Competition; the Silver Award from the 16th Italian Rome International Choreography Competition and the Jury Chairman’s Award at the 15th Seoul International Dance Competition in 2018.
Artistic Director：Aakash Odedra
Choreographers and Dance Artists: Aakash Odedra & Hu Shenyuan
Lighting Design：Yaron Abulafia
Costume：K H Lee
Aakash Odedra Company and Bagri Foundation
Arts Council England
Asia TOPA, Melbourne, Australia
Birmingham Hippodrome, UK
Curve Theatre, Leicester, UK
Chaillot, National Theatre De Danse, Paris
Shanghai International Dance Center
Royal Ballet, London
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